HSHS, Memorial Health see COVID-19 admissions surge as cold weather drives people indoors – The State Journal

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients at HSHS St. John’s Hospital have risen to levels last seen during the latest surge in late summer and early fall.

The increase in inpatients with COVID-19 at the 422-bed Springfield hospital and the 14 other Hospital Sisters Health System hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin has coincided with climbing numbers of COVID-19-positive cases since early November in central Illinois and the rest of the state.

“We don’t know if it will continue,” Dr. Marc Shelton, HSHS senior vice president and chief clinical officer, told The State Journal-Register. 

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With fall’s cold weather and the end-of-the-year holiday season bringing more people indoors and at gatherings where COVID-19 can be easily spread, Shelton urged the public to wear masks in crowds, get vaccinated against COVID-19 and seek widely available booster shots.

“We’ve seen very few people who’ve been boosted who have to be admitted,” said Shelton, a cardiologist.

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases have continued to rise among Sangamon County residents since early last month. And though new reports of deaths haven’t risen locally, officials note that deaths often lag initial diagnoses by weeks, and in some cases, months.

Statewide, however, the average daily number of COVID-19 deaths has been on the rise since late November. Tuesday’s report of 78 new deaths from the Illinois Department of Public Health was the highest one-day total since Feb. 11, when 102 deaths were reported.